Staff Profile: Who is John “Jack” Jackman?

A well-known face to the Monmouth University and athletic community is John “Jack” Jackman. He has been at Monmouth since 1993 and has played a crucial part in the Fitness Center since it opened in the 1990’s and (now) the newer Fitness Center at the Ocean First Bank Center since 2010. “I have always strived to make the Fitness Center a comfortable atmosphere where everyone can enjoy working out,” Jackman commented.

Jackman grew up from humble origins in the nearby town of Keansburg and has always worked in the athletics field. Although he played some football in high school, his main inspiration was to become a champion bodybuilder—a dream of his which he fulfilled at 11 years old.

In 1976, as a preteen, he was determined to train in weightlifting. Jackman began to lift weights at his friend’s house before going to Flamingo Gym, also in Keansburg. He described the gym as a “blue collar, old school, boxing type facility” where weight training was taken very seriously.

At the gym, he was trained by the owner, Mr. New Jersey Champion of 1975, Tom Bizzoco. Jackman noted, “Bizzoco helped me a lot; that’s where I also met Gary Kamil who also mentored in bodybuilding throughout my career. Gary was always a true gentleman and a great influence in business as well, he won several bodybuilding titles himself. We are still in touch, and he owns Fitness City in Matawan, NJ”
In 1988, Jackman won an immense victory at the Governor’s Cup Bodybuilding Championship in Asbury Park. He had special memories about the meet, especially since his mother was present to support him.

After that tournament, he went on to win titles including “Mr. Atlantic Coast,” “Mr. New Jersey,” and the “Jersey Classic.” In 1991, he competed at the “Mr. Atlantic” competition in Atlantic City and earned top six.
He recalled, “I remember I had my whole gym come and watch which made it the most fun for me. After that, I just decided not to carry it any further. I used to choreograph my own music and my own poses, but it wasn’t without my mom out in the crowd watching me.” Throughout his time as a bodybuilder, his mother was his biggest fan. He credits her for being his biggest inspiration to live out his dreams. He was also able to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger during one of his bodybuilding competitions.

After competing as an athlete, Jackman served as an official bodybuilding competition judge. Jackman said, “I was an official judge at the Mr. and Mrs. Trenton bodybuilding show for about seven years, which was a huge honor for me.” After bodybuilding, he dedicated more time to his work as a new chapter of his life.

Before coming to what was then Monmouth College as a part-time trainer, he owned Champions Gym in Middletown for many years, and even trained gym members such as Bruce Springsteen and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. He has also worked other jobs before Monmouth College; he previously has worked as a hospital security guard in Florida and New Jersey and helped with the home football games.

Jackman has directed the Fitness Center here at Monmouth University for more than 25 years. There is something special about being on this campus and seeing the growth, especially Athletics, over the years,” he said. “I love being part of it.”

Jackman also gives much credit to Athletic Director Jeff Stapleton, who originally hired him to run the first Fitness Center about 30 years ago. “Jeff has helped me greatly with honing my skills as a business professional over the years, especially when it comes to dealing with people professionally. I have the highest respect for Jeff and the example he sets,” Jackman added.

Senior Carrington Retzios, a marine and environmental biology and policy student, said, “Mr. Jackman has embodied the values of diligence, respect, and hard work in the time I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him. He goes above and beyond in his work, and it shows in his acclaim in the community.”

Retzios gave some advice for new students who wanted to learn more about the Center, “Working out in the Fitness Center has allowed me to work on my well-being outside of regular track practice. It is a great tool for both physical and mental health, and I think continuing to advertise these values will allow more students to enjoy the amenities of the Fitness Center.”

Men’s Tennis Head Coach Chris Leicht has known Jackman since 2018. He visits the center every week and said, “When I think of the Monmouth University Fitness Center, I think of John Jackman. He has dedicated his entire professional life to this center, and he cares so much about the students and the center. I have enjoyed working with him and learning from him.”